MONTGOMERY—Retired U.S. Air Force General John A. Shaud reminded Troy University graduates that their new degrees will not only open doors, but create opportunities to be leaders at home, work and in the community.
Shaud, director of the Air Force Research Institute at Maxwell Air Force Base, delivered the keynote address to graduates at the Montgomery Campus during fall commencement on Tuesday, Dec. 14, inside the Davis Theatre for the Performing Arts.
TROY Chancellor Jack Hawkins, Jr., conferred more than 170 graduate and undergraduate degrees during the 7 p.m. ceremony.
“If you are willing to make that ugly face and stop the other team from scoring, you will win championships,” DiChiara said.
Shaud told graduates that earning a degree will create new opportunities for the future and leave them better prepared to deal with life’s surprises.
“What’s going on here this evening is going to change your life forever,” Shaud said. “When you have a degree, the door will open to opportunities that were not available without a degree … and because of that flexibility in your preparation, you can handle a surprise, like an economic downturn.”
But along with opportunity, Shaud reminded graduates that having a college degree creates the expectation of leadership.
“Whether its in the workplace … (or) in the home, it's all about interpersonal relationships,” Shaud said. “It’s in the church; it’s wherever you live.”
Shaud said good leadership requires both intelligence and compassion.
“As a leader you should use your intelligence to not only describe what needs to be done, but take it one step further and explain why,” Shaud said.
He also urged graduates to convey energy by maintaining a personal connection with the people they lead.
“I want to mention ... the energy of your presence, how important it is for you to be with the person [when] you are discussing their performance, discussing their job,” Shaud said. “Your presence conveys energy and interest and an interpersonal relationship that email and social networking can never do.”
Shaud retired from active duty in 1991 after 35 years of service. He is a former command pilot with more than 5,600 flying hours whose last active duty position was chief of staff of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.